The Portuguese Grand Prix: Round 2 of 16 in the 1985 Formula One World Championship. Heading into the race, McLaren driver Alain was leading the Drivers Championship with 9 points ahead of Ferrari driver Michele Alboreto in second with 6 points and fellow Lotus driver Elio de Angelis in third with 4 points.
The big news in the days after the Brazilian Grand Prix was that Rene Arnoux had been fired by the Ferrari team as a result of problems with his physical condition. The team hired Stefan Johnasson to replace him. Toleman was still without tires The Tyrrell team had reached agreement with Stefan Bellof and so he was back and Zakspeed joined the field with one car for Jonathan Palmer.
In Qualifying, Ayrton Senna qualified in Pole Position with his Lotus Renault with Alain Prost qualifying in second place. The Williams-Honda od Keke Rosberg qualified in third place, with Senna’s team mate Elio de Angelis qualifying in fourth place.
Ferrari driver Michele Alboreto was in fifth place ahead of Derek Warwick in his Renault in sixth place, ahead of Niki Lauda in seventh place, Andrea de Cesaris in eighth place, Nigel Mansell in ninth place and Nelson Piquet who rounded off the top ten finishers.
On race day on Sunday, it was pouring with rain by the time it came for the race. Several drivers went off during the reconnaissance laps, notably Mansell and Eddie Cheever. Both of them had to start from the pitlane in spares.
Senna took the lead with de Angelis getting a good start to move to second. Rosberg stalled but everyone avoided the Williams except Palmer who just clipped the rear of the car with the new Zakspeed. Palmer hobbled around to retire. Rosberg finally managed to get going but he spun on the first lap.
At the front of the field, Senna led de Angelis, Prost, Alboreto, Warwick, Lauda and de Cesaris. The Pirelli wet tires were not good and so the Pirelli runners (notably Piquet) faded quickly. The order remained unchanged at the front as Senna drove away from his rivals in majestic fashion.
Prost disappeared with a big spin on lap 30 and so Alboreto moved to third and Tambay to fourth. Mansell was fifth and Bellof (with mangled front wings) sixth. On Lap 43, Alboreto overtook de Angelis for second and in the closing laps the Lotus also dropped behind Tambay, ending the day fourth ahead of Mansell and Bellof.
Senna won his first ever Grand Prix win at the 1985 Portuguese Grand Prix with a fantastic drive ahead of Alboreto in second place and Tambay in third place. De Angelis finished the race in fourth ahead of Mansell in fifth and Bellof in sixth place. Warwick finished the race in seventh place ahead of Johnasson in eighth place and Ghinzani in ninth place.
The 1985 Portuguese Grand Prix saw Senna achieve his first win of his career and what a win it was. Senna was just on dominant form all weekend and just drove the wheels of the Lotus-Renault all weekend and was rewarded with a great win that showed just how talented he really was as a racing driver.
Senna demonstrated his proficiency in wet conditions by finishing the race at least one lap ahead of every car except second-place finisher Alboreto which is just fantastic and is a race that will always be remembered by the fans of why Senna was the “rain master”.
And as the 1985 World Championship leaded towards the next round in Japan at the Suzuka Circuit, Alborteo was leading the Driver’s Championship by 12 points ahead of Prost with 9 points and also ahead of Senna who also had 9 points in third place.